Canada Organic Trade Association’s 2022 State of Organics Report

Since 2017, the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) has released an annual State of Organics: Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Performance Report. Now in its fifth year of publication, this report describes the existing organic regulations, policies and programming within the FPT jurisdictions and provides a broad set of summary conclusions. The FPT report is a benchmark, demonstrating the current state of affairs and aims to foster greater government support of the organic sector in Canada.

In this post, we are going to highlight a few sections of the report that detail Ontario’s current organic sector.

Ontario continues to push for provincial regulation

Despite being Canada’s largest organic market, Ontario lacks both provincial regulations and provincial government support. British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have adopted the national organic standards while Quebec has its own regulations. This leaves Ontario lagging behind most of the country’s other provinces, with no ability to regulate intra-provincial organics.

OCO continues to push the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and our Members of Provincial Parliament for provincial organic regulation. Despite positive reception from all political parties, provincial organic regulation has yet to be enacted. OCO continues to work towards regulation and other organic supports, like an Organic Specialist, at all levels of provincial government.

Improving Ontario’s organic data collection systems

The country’s organic sector suffers from inconsistent and poor data collection. While Quebec and New Brunswick are leading provinces in data collection for the organic sector, OCO has made some headway on improving data collection in Ontario, receiving funding to gather some labour data for an Organic Labour Needs Assessment from OMAFRA.

OCO has also launched a grain survey for organic grain producers and dealers with feedback from Agricorp to collect more accurate and timely pricing data with the hopes of improving crop insurance rates in the province.

New marketing strategies for the organic sector in Ontario

Ontario lacks market support for its organic sector, with only 3% of all Foodland Ontario participants having licensed agreements to use the Foodland Ontario Organic logo, OMAFRA’s buy local program.

To help improve market awareness of local organic products in Ontario, OCO has received grant funding from OMAFRA to conduct a consumer-facing Ontario Organic branding campaign.

Want to read the full report? You can access the State of Organics Report here.

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